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Israel – God’s People

Israel – God’s People

I’m continuing my walk through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. As we start chapter 9, Paul is transitioning to a new subject. It’s like a parenthesis in the letter.

He’s now going to talk about Israel as God’s chosen people. What’s their place in the era of the New Covenant?

I speak the truth in Christ — I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit — I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.

Romans 9:1-4a

Up to this point, Paul is talking about the great work that God is doing in us as believers. As he does so, he starts to reflect on the condition of his own people.

How does the New Covenant affect the nation of Israel? What does it mean to be His chosen people? Throughout his writings, Paul refers to the church as the elect – the chosen. How does that fit in?

The fact is that Paul has a love for his people. He loves them to the point of great sorrow over them. This love is not without reason.

Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

Romans 9:4b-5

There is a great heritage that we receive from Israel. They were the first to be adopted as sons of God. That’s clear from Scripture.

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”

Hosea 11:1

They were the first to walk in the glory of God. They were the first to cut covenant with God. They actually received God’s written law.

Remember, from our look at Galatians, that the law is different than the covenants. The law was an addendum to the covenant and was not a new covenant in and of itself.

The people of Israel were the first to establish an organized religious service to God. They were the first to receive the promises of God.

In essence, they’re our fathers in the faith. When Christ took on human flesh, His ancestry is traced from Israel. He is our God.

Based upon this foundation, Paul wants to explain their condition.

It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.

Romans 9:6-8

He literally says that the Word of God did not go off course, or fail. Not all who come out of Israel are Israel. What he’s saying is that in God’s eyes, Israel is not merely a genetic group.

Just because they’re related by bloodline, doesn’t make them true children of Abraham. As proof, he offers Isaac and Ishmael.

Paul explains that there are two different types of children. There are the natural children, the children who are born of the flesh. These are not necessarily the children of God.

It’s the children of the promise that are inventoried as Abraham’s true seed. This is the basis for the rest of Paul’s teaching about Israel. As believers, we really need to understand the place of Israel in the scheme of things. That’s especially true now that we’re in the last days before the return of Christ.

Question: How do you view Israel, as God’s people, in these last days?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2021 in Israel, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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A Promise to the Nations

A Promise to the Nations

In my last post we saw that Abraham is our father in the faith.  His blessing is passed down to us because of the work of Christ on the cross.  We receive this promise by the same faith that brings our righteousness.

Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring — not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.  He is the father of us all.  As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.”  He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed — the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

Romans 4:16-17

This is a beautiful portion of Scripture.  Because of his faith, God sees Abraham as the father of all those who walked this path after him.  If I walk in that same faith towards the Lord, I become a part of Abraham’s family.

God said that He would make Abraham the father of many nations.  I believe that God was not only talking about his life in the physical.

As it was, three different Middle Eastern nations came from his line.  They were the Israelites, Ishmaelites, and the Edomites.  In my way of thinking, if God promises many nations, than it would mean more than just three.

On the contrary, there are many nations that have become his children.  He is now the father of the faithful Americans, Italians, Jamaicans, Koreans, Navahos, Russians, and any other national group you can think of.

I personally praise God for this.  I wasn’t born into the physical family of Abraham.  But, by trusting Christ to save me, I have been adopted into his lineage with all the promises and blessings that accompany it.

The last line of this passage gives two descriptions of the God we serve.  The first is that this is the God who gives life to the dead.  This literally means that He can take a corpse and make it alive.

You may think that everything around you is dead.  Your dreams, desires, and hopes may have slowly died off because of circumstances beyond your control.  But the God we serve is well able to bring them to life again.

This verse also says that the Lord is the God who calls things that are not as though they were.  This is a calling out of creative power.

Unfortunately, many times we get it backwards.  It does not say that He calls things that are as though they were not.  That’s denial.  Scripture never tells us to deny that our problems exist.

It’s absolutely proper for me to admit that I’m sick.  In the same breath I can also declare that Christ is my Healer.

We don’t deny what’s happening.  If I was never sick, how could Jesus Christ get the glory for my healing?

Because of faith, we’re the children of Abraham.  We inherit the same blessing that was given to him.  We need to start living up to it and walking in it.

It’s this promise and blessing that will cause the world to look at us differently.  They’ll want what we have.  Then, they’ll be attracted to Jesus Christ by our testimony.

Question: How would walking in this blessing change the way others view us?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2020 in Faith, Healing, Sonship, Spiritual Walk

 

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